Dear Friend of TAG:
Over the past two years, the world has gotten a crash-course — one few were prepared for — in infectious diseases epidemiology, viral evolution, the importance of research, development, and evidence-based policies, government incompetence, the persistence of systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. We learned once again science and activism are crucial to accelerating research and to saving lives. For those of us who’ve been fighting AIDS for the past 40 years, these lessons aren’t new.
On World AIDS Day, I participated in an event led by TAG’s allies, Housing Works and VOCAL-NY. I introduced New York State’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, who announced the new commitment of Governor Kathy Hochul to revitalize and expand New York’s ground-breaking Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative through 2024, and to eliminate Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections by 2030 — both goals long fought for by TAG. The state will improve services related to sexually transmitted infections, lifesaving harm reduction programs, and statewide access to housing for people with HIV. Just yesterday, New York City announced the nation’s first two Overdose Prevention Centers, where at least two lives were saved on the first day alone.
Despite three successive National HIV strategies, new HIV infection rates remained stubbornly high in the U.S. over the past 11 years, especially among Black and Latino gay men, Black women, and transgender people. Only two-thirds of people living with HIV in this country are successfully treated for their infection, and fewer than 23% of those who could benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are currently taking it. Federal strategies to end HIV in the United States so far have failed.
President Biden just released an updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy. While this has ambitious goals, it provides too few specifics on how they’ll be funded and achieved.
Just as we have over the past three decades, TAG continues to pressure for faster research, better policy, and greater community involvement in our global and domestic struggles to end these three diseases — as well as COVID-19. I’m so proud to be able to share with you the 2021 TAG Update, which documents some of the impact we’ve achieved with your generous support.
Thank you so much for making what we do possible, have a healthy holiday and New Year, and please continue to support TAG’s lifesaving work! We need you now, more than ever.
Yours in the struggle,